I read Kim Kardashian West’s book Selfish, and can’t help but like her more. (I’ve never watched the TV shows, and only know the bare sketches of her bio and place in culture at the moment.) I think any book of portraits of just one subject would have a similar effect. Just another human gettin’ by.


Drummer Gene Krupa performing at Gjon Mili’s studio. NYC, 1941

*Amazing* photographs from LIFE Magazine’s photo archives. Originally featured in the July 9th, 1941 article, “GENE KRUPA SHOWS HOW TO PLAY DRUM IN THESE FANTASTIC SOUND PICTURES.

In these unusual shots Krupa illustrates some rudiments of drumming. They were taken by Gjon Mili’s multiple-exposure camera so you could follow the track of Krupa’s drumsticks whizzing through the air. But they are interesting also as impressionistic portraits of sound, suggesting the rhythmic pandemonium of a Krupa jam session.

….As a drum historian, he likes to tell how Napoleon Bonaparte was once defeated by Russians who were roused to a fighting frenzy by Cossack drummers. Says Krupa proudly, “I have Cossack blood myself.”

Also, be sure to follow the LIFE Tumblr.



Jorge Luis BORGES (Argentinian, 1899 – 1986) Self-portrait. ink on paper
8 3/4 x 6 inches (225 x 150 mm)

When he drew this, because Burt Britton asked him to, Borges was blind.

Weirdly, Cormac McCarthy also did a self-portrait for Britton. Other writers in the collection: Joan Didion, Edward Gorey, Roald Dahl, Margaret Atwood, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Maurice Sendak, John Updike, and Tom Wolfe.

Philosophy Bites: Cynthia Freeland on Portraits. This is a really great episode. Art history, portraiture, photography, self-representation, etc. One of the topics that came up was Roland Barthes’ book Camera Lucida, a short volume on photography written after his mother’s death. (See also his journal excerpts from the same time period.) Given the choice, Freeland would like David Hockney to do her own portrait.